I don’t know about you but I get a little antsy waiting for the mailman when I’m expecting a $1 million check. Steve Young will be getting one of those sometime after Jan. 1 as part of a football contract he signed nearly 30 years ago. Thanks in large part to Donald Trump.

What the …?

You know him as an NFL analyst for ESPN and I know him as the best quarterback in 49ers history (yes I know … sorry Joe. Just one man’s opinion). But did you know that back before the 49ers and even before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Young signed the most lucrative contract in pro football history? And that he’s still collecting on it?

Fresh out of BYU Young bypassed the NFL to sign with the new United States Football League which you most likely know. The deal? About $40 million over five years from the Los Angeles Express: the largest sports contract in history to that point. According to this it would be equal to $90 million today with inflation.

Why that much with a fledgling football league? Because LA Express owner J. William Oldenburg was nuts. He wanted Young in the worst way thinking that his all-out rambling style of play would help establish his team and the league and position it to take on the NFL. But not only that: Oldenburg also had an arch-rival.

Donald Trump was owner of the New Jersey Generals and had splurged on NFL-quality talent such as quarterback Brian Sipe defensive back Gary Barbaro and linebacker Jim LeClair. He even tried to lure Don Shula from the Dolphins to coach the team but the story goes that Shula wanted a condo at Trump Tower as part of the deal and The Donald declined.

Oldenburg desperate to prevent Trump from upstaging him would get Young at any cost. The Cincinnati Bengals who held the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft could have offered Young only the NFL rookie maximum of $500000 per year over four seasons not guaranteed with a $1 million signing bonus. So it was kind of a foregone conclusion where Young would end up.